The fra­grance of clove-scented pinks waft­ing through the air on a sum­mer evening is an ex­pe­ri­ence not to be missed, says Adri­enne Wild

Woman's Weekly (UK) - - Contents -

Feel in the pink with di­anthus

Pinks – or di­anthus – are not only one of Bri­tain’s favourite plants, but they’re also highly col­lectable. They pro­duce some of the best long-last­ing blooms in the gar­den, which are prized for their de­li­ciously spicy, clove­like fra­grance.

The pretty, nec­tar-rich flow­ers have all the charms of a car­na­tion with­out its fussy de­mands. They come in an at­trac­tive range of solid and bi-colours, as well as fringed or deeply ser­rated edges that look as if the petals have been trimmed with ‘pink­ing’ shears.

The pre­dom­i­nant colour is, of course, pink or pale ma­genta, but white is also com­mon. You’ll also find yel­low and ma­hogany-red va­ri­eties. Choose from five-petal sin­gles, just 1.5cm across, to petal­packed dou­bles that def­i­nitely bring the wow fac­tor to your gar­den.

The blooms are of­ten marked with one or more colours, some­times as con­cen­tric rings and with in­tri­cate ra­dial pat­terns.

A Pot­ted His­tory…

In the dis­tant past, pinks gave only one short-lived burst of flow­ers in June. How­ever, just af­ter the First World War, Mon­tague All­wood hy­bridised his pinks with the per­pet­ual car­na­tion at his nurs­ery in Sus­sex, cre­at­ing Di­anthus x all­woodii. The prog­eny of this cross start flow­er­ing in June and con­tinue giv­ing flushes of flow­ers through­out the sum­mer, un­til the frosts come.

There are now hun­dreds of mod­ern, long-flow­er­ing va­ri­eties, many of which are avail­able from the All­woods nurs­ery (all­ ‘Doris,’ a salmon-pink va­ri­ety with semi-double blooms, which was bred in 1945, is per­haps the most fa­mous of all.

Other stand-out va­ri­eties are ‘Gran’s Favourite,’ which is white with rasp­berry edges, and ‘Wide­combe Fair,’ a pale apri­cot with pink splashes and an amaz­ing per­fume.

Tra­di­tional favourites in­clude the highly scented, loosely ragged white Mrs Sink­ins, which has been a fea­ture in tra­di­tional cot­tage gar­dens since it was in­tro­duced in 1868. Al­though seen as the clas­sic English pink, it is also uni­ver­sally recog­nised as a flawed plant, due to it be­ing a bit floppy and lop­sided.

Th­ese days, gar­den­ers’ in­ter­est in Mrs Sink­ins has waned in favour of mod­ern va­ri­eties like the re­silient Hay­tor White, which has a com­pact bushy habit.

Di­anthus are a pop­u­lar choice for cot­tage­gar­den bor­ders

‘Gran’s Favourite’

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